Back to School for the Elderly – Why You Should Never Really Want to Leave School!

Back to School for the Elderly – Why You Should Never Really Want to Leave School!

We all know that keeping your brain challenged into old age gives you a better chance of keeping a sharp brain, and this is largely true. However, recent studies suggest that there are certain skills and ways of learning that have more fundamentally advantageous effects on your brain than others – namely, new skills.

While reinforcing old skills is certainly a good way to improve yourself, actively taking up mentally demanding new skills are the most effective of improving cognitive functions. This is because, by exploring something that is unfamiliar, your brain has to work harder to adjust to unacquainted activities, which in turn strengthens the synapses in parts of your brain that were previously not as strong. So, in effect, you’re going back to school!

What are the best ways to get out of the comfort zone and into the enhancement zone? Here at Northeast Adult Day Care, we've got some ideas for new skills that may give your brain the strain it needs to keep itself challenged, and therefore sharp, for years to come!

Photography

You may already be an expert in photography, but if you’re not, this is a great hobby to get into! Learning all the tricks and skills involved in both analog and digital photography requires active engagement, tapping of both working and long-term memory, and many other high-level cognitive processes that are vital for getting your brain into the enhancement zone. What’s more, photography is great for numerous other important factors for the elderly including sociability, outdoor exercise (assuming you are interested in photographing the great outdoors) and capturing memories that will last forever!

Becoming computer literate

Seniors are often stereotyped as being technophobes who are unable to adapt to the fast-paced nature of technological development, but this is simply not true! Many seniors out there are embarking on a journey into the world of the internet and social media, or even website design and high-level digital publishing! The skills needed to become a whizz in the digital world are highly cognitive and as they develop, will demand more and more high-level thought processes by your brain. In addition to this, becoming computer literate across devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets can open an astounding amount of new possibilities for the elderly that helps combat social scourges such as loneliness and social isolation. It could mean that in no time you're able to use applications such as Skype to call distant family members or friends or be able to connect with new groups in the neighborhood through the use of online chat rooms and messaging applications such as WhatsApp.

Cooking

Some people love cooking, others see it as a chore! Either way, there's no end to what you can do in this skill area, so whether you've never learned, or you're trying to expand your already extensive repertoire of dishes, it's still a great option. Cooking requires the use of cognitive skills and understanding, especially if you get creative and make your own meals! It's a particularly useful skill for those who wish to live independently for as long as possible and can also be a great skill for getting people together to enjoy some great grub!

Back to school, literally

A surprising number of seniors go back to formal education after retirement. For many, this is simply to finally finish high school and get rid of a weight they’ve had lingering over them their whole adult life. For others, it’s just a way of expanding horizons and gaining new perspectives in areas that interest them. So, whether you wish to finish your high school diploma or take a degree in medieval history, the benefit to your mental ability will be immense!

For those who worry about the cognitive function of their brain, there are a great array of new skill sets they can explore to ensure they stay mentally sharp. If you have any of these concerns, why not try some of the recommendations above? Whether fun or functional, new skillsets will really help those new synapses connect in your brain, and therefore keep you mentally sharp and able to live a fuller life for longer!


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